A Discovery of a New Type of Coral


  Earlier this month, a new discovery in the world of marine science was made. Marine biologists from the University of Costa Rica were teamed up with other experts from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute doing fieldwork in Peru. Approximately 25 meters down near the Isla San Gallan, a new species of coral was discovered. The species was formally named Psammogorgia hookeri after Peruvian University biologist and saturalist Dr. Yuri Hooker.

            Psammogorgia hookeri was studied using mostly microscopy and is unique based of colony characteristics shown from this microscopy. It is particularly small with bright, coral red ccoenenchymal sclerites, or connecting skeletal tissue, are only 0.2 mm long. Its most prominent feature is protruding calyces with wide lips around polyp apertures.

            This new discovery, though exciting, was not very surprising considering these areas have not been systematically studied. This discovery accentuates how much there is to learn and discover in uncharted areas in Peru and elsewhere. This is especially important because of the area in which it was found. The species was discovered in a protected area, meaning these areas are free of human interaction other than research. These areas are important to study in order to be able to make comparisons to similar areas that have been affected by humans. The researchers say they expect to find more unknown species in the area throughout their continuing research.